Right now, Pat Riley is not coaching in the NBA. Despite the pleas of some Heat fans.
But you know the man can coach. He’s got a literal handful of NBA championship rings and is a three-time NBA Coach of the Year. He’s in the Hall of Fame.
Tuesday he was given the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Basketball Coaches Association, something he can place proudly in an already overflowing trophy case at home. Mavericks coach and current coaching association president Rick Carlisle presented the award.
“This is not an award,” Riley said. “This is something somebody bestows on you. I’m very honored that the coaches association would do this.”
Riley is only the fifth winner ever, joining coaching legends Tommy Heinsohn, Jack Ramsay, Tex Winter and Lenny Wilkens.
Winning the award named after the late Piston coach means a lot to Riley, he said. While they started out as rival coaches — Riley is best known as the coach of the Showtime Lakers with his slicked-back hair — the two well-dressed men became fast friends and Riley was there near the end as Daly was battling cancer in 2009. You could tell he was genuinely moved by the award.
But you could also tell he had something else going on in his mind, as the current president of the Miami Heat. But no, he’s not coming down to coach again. Spo is his boy.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.
Bill Bridges, a star as a Kansas Jayhawk who went on to have a 12-year NBA career that included being part of the 1975 Golden State Warriors championship team, has passed away, according to the University of Kansas.
Bridges was an undersized power forward at 6’6″ but he was a beast on the boards who averaged 11.9 rebounds a game for his career and more than 13 a game for six straight years at the peak of his career. That 11.9 per game average is still 27th all-time in NBA history.
A New Mexico native, Bridges was a three-time All-Star (all as a member of the Hawks), two-time All-NBA Defensive team, and was part of the 1975 Warriors title team. Besides the Hawks (St. Louis and Atlanta) and Warriors, Bridges played for the Sixers and Lakers.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.